EXECUTIVE: Be the employer people want to work for

Be the employer people want to work for.

January’s “New Year’s resolution” season brings with it new beginnings and new possibilities. A chance to evaluate your situation and develop a plan to improve, whether it’s in your personal or work life and more often than not, the challenge of balancing the two.

It’s also the perfect time for organisations to reassess their business visions, values and goals for the year ahead. A time to consider how to create a company culture that makes your people want to stick around. A wise decision, because believe it or not, employees are evaluating their futures too.

Riding the coattails of last year’s ‘Great Resignation’, employees are demanding more out of their employers than ever and coupled with the new year’s ‘fresh start effect’ – they’re on the lookout for more fulfilling roles with organisations that value their wellbeing.

Pretty important considerations for any employer given that a 2021 Censuswide survey (commissioned by Juno) found that 57% of workers are currently suffering from low morale in the workplace and 21% said they now had a lack of care for the company they work for.

And you might be forgiven to think that higher salaries would be the obvious answer, however, it appears this is not the case with job candidates now being more interested in how an organisation will look after them.

In Scotland, a staggering 82% of employees said that attractive benefits like better work-life balance, workplace culture, access to benefits (e.g. childcare, healthcare) and wellness tools at another organisation, were the key factors behind their decision to move jobs.

A CIPD Health and Wellbeing report shows that employers with wellbeing initiatives have a massive 44% better employee morale and engagement and 31% lower sickness absence. While Deloitte research indicates that it’s not just good for employees but good for business too with an average return on investment of £5 for every £1 spent investing in wellbeing initiatives.

So if you want to keep your star players and benefit your bottom line, it’s time to start thinking about how you can offer your employees a workplace that truly caters to their wellbeing and development. How can an organisation do that I hear you ask? Well, developing a workplace wellbeing strategy is the answer!

Many organisations already have wellbeing initiatives in place – it is commonplace to offer some primary and secondary interventions.

Although both types are extremely valuable and would undoubtedly make inroads into improving the wellbeing of many individuals, they are not long-term solutions to improving employee wellbeing and will not deliver the kind of cultural change that organisations need.

The Oxford dictionary defines strategy as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim” and that is exactly what we should be doing when developing a workplace wellbeing strategy – thinking long-term.

It is not a band-aid or tick-box exercise, given to the HR department to ‘patch up’ for superficial appearances or to yield short-term gains. This will not mend a ‘broken’ system or deliver the results you want.

Rather than a collection of well-meaning activities, which in itself doesn’t make a strategy, it must be organisation-wide, initiated by the top with longterm aims woven into the company’s make-up.

You want to develop a logical, structured and measurable strategy that will deliver long-term benefits for your people and your organisation.

Here are 7 key steps for developing a wellbeing strategy that works:

1. Identifying what it is that you want to achieve with your wellbeing strategy

2. Take time to evaluate the current situation

3. Build a framework for your strategy that suits your organisation

4. Map what you already have in place into your framework and identify the disparities

5. Plan the way ahead, in terms of short, medium and long-term actions

6. Establish how you will measure your success

7. Review, evaluate and adapt

These steps seem simple, but developing a wellbeing strategy takes a lot of research, planning and development. Input from a wellbeing professional will make the process much easier and more effective. But when you get it right, not only will you reap the rewards of engaged and productive employees, but soon you will be the employer everyone wants to work for.

Fiona Macintosh is a professional member of the International Stress Management Association and holds a CPCAB-accredited Level 5 Diploma in Mental Health & Wellbeing Awareness. Fiona can help you develop a wellbeing strategy, undertake stress risk assessments to protect your workforce and provide stress awareness training.

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